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    Good Points, Carl Sagan!
    By Massimo Pigliucci | August 11th 2009 01:00 PM | 48 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Massimo

    Massimo Pigliucci is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York.

    His research focuses on the structure of evolutionary

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    I finally got around to reading Carl Sagan’s The Variety of Scientific Experience, a volume edited by his wife, Ann Druyan, and based on a series of Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology that Carl delivered in 1985 at the University of Glasgow. The title of the book is a direct reference, and gentle challenge, to William James’s somewhat frustrating The Variety of Religious Experience (also based on a series of lectures, those presented at the University of Edinburgh in 1901). Although James’ text is a classic in psychology and philosophy, James drew a rather simplistic distinction between what he called “healthy minds” and “sick souls,” both analyzed in terms of empowering religious experiences. Not to mention, of course, that he sarcastically suggested to his audience of scientists that their atheism was perhaps a result of a malfunction of their liver.

    At any rate, Sagan’s essays are about the relationship between science and religion from a point of view very different from that of James. At the same time, it is so refreshing to read the words of a positive atheist, which do not in the least resemble the angry and inflated rhetoric of a Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins. On the contrary, Sagan’s tone is always measured and humble, and yet he delivers (metaphorically) mortal blow after mortal blow to the religious in his audience.

    The science in the book is unavoidably a bit dated (though Druyan added notes here and there to update a few of the statements of fact). Then again, these essays are not about science per se, but about the meaning of science in our lives, and its conflict with the religious mind set. There are many precious passages that deserve thoughtful consideration, but one in particular struck me early on in the book (chapter 1). Sagan is talking about the sheer vastness of space: about a hundred billion stars just in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which is one of more than 400 billion galaxies in the universe. That universe measures 46.5 billion light years across, and contains something of the order of 10 to the 80 atoms. Oh, and most of it is either empty or filled with dark stuff that is not part of galaxies, stars or planets.

    After contemplating all this for a moment, Sagan says: “And this vast number of worlds, the enormous scale of the universe, in my view has been taken into account, even superficially, in virtually no religion, and especially no Western religions.” That seems exactly right, and something that is hardly discussed even in debates between atheists and theists: human religions are completely oblivious to the enormity of space. There is much talk about “intelligent design” and “anthropic principles” and other fanciful notions concocted to convince us that there is scientific evidence that this whole shebang was put in place by someone just so that we would eventually appear (and what a beautiful result he got for all his efforts!).

    But Sagan’s observation makes it very clear that these people have no idea in what sort of place we really live. As Douglas Adams famously put it in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the drug store, but that's just peanuts to space.” Indeed. What sort of intelligent engineer would create a contraption (the universe) that takes upwards of 13 billion years to generate Homo sapiens, all the while wasting 99.999999999999+ percent of the space in the universe? Or maybe, suggests Sagan, this vast amount of space and time hasn’t been wasted, and God has created many other worlds with people. But in that case, did Jesus come and die on the cross in every single one of them? Are there separate Hells and Heavens for different species of ET? The theological implications are staggering, and yet completely unaddressed.

    Ah, the religious will say, but who are we to question God’s plan? He (or she, or it, as Sagan repeatedly writes) notoriously works in mysterious ways. But that is the ultimate cop out. It is simply a fancy, and frankly insulting, way to say “I haven’t the foggiest idea.” People have a right to believe whatever inane story they like to believe (as long as they do not try to impose it on others), but many religious people since Thomas Aquinas actually want to argue that their beliefs are also rational, that there is no contradiction between the book of nature and those of scripture. If so, then they need to answer Sagan’s question about why it is that the so-called holy books don’t tell us anything at all about how the universe really is.

    Sagan imagines how God could have dictated his books to the ancient prophets in a way that would have certainly made an impact on us moderns. He could have said (I’m quoting Sagan directly here): “Don’t forget, Mars is a rusty place with volcanoes. ... You’ll understand this later. Trust me. ... How about, ‘Thou shalt not travel faster than light?’ ... Or ‘There are no privileged frames of reference.’ Or how about some equations? Maxwell’s laws in Egyptian hieroglyphics or ancient Chinese characters or ancient Hebrew.” Now that would be impressive, and even Dawkins would have to scratch his head at it. But no, instead we find trivial stories about local tribes, a seemingly endless series of “begats,” and a description of the world as small, young, and rather flat.

    Sagan’s challenge is virtually ignored by theologians the world over. And for good reason: it is impossible to answer coherently while retaining the core of most religious traditions. The various gods people worship are simply far too small for the universe we actually inhabit, which is no surprise once we accept the rather obvious truth that it is us who made the gods in our image, not the other way around. We miss you, Carl.

    Comments

    Hi. I come from Sweden and know also about Carl Sagan I yuo alredy havent read Carl Sagans Demon-Haunted world,Pale blue dot,Brocas Brain,cosmos and Dracons off Eden I recommendent them for yuo.I believe in the C.sagans cosmos book more than the Christian bible for.ex.The problem with the bible are that people think that some lies are "holy" and dont dare tochange them.Sometimes I wonder why the Christian bible dont get a more modern version which really explain it better and what it means.Even instruction boks for cars and computers get uppdated with the latest knowledge often etc. but not the lies in the 2000-4000 year old christian bible?!?People who dont dare to critisaise the bible and Christian fate etc. are a part off the problem, which make our truet seeking and scientific thinking slower.The humanity need people (scientist) like Carl Sagan so we can develop faster and reach the stars,not oldfashioned Christian priest who belive in nonproven dogma etc.Remember what the "stupid" catholocic chirke did to Calileo!In yuo wont to discuss more my e-mail are aki@aol.se

    kerrjac
    After contemplating all this for a moment, Sagan says: “And this vast number of worlds, the enormous scale of the universe, in my view has been taken into account, even superficially, in virtually no religion, and especially no Western religions.” That seems exactly right, and something that is hardly discussed even in debates between atheists and theists: human religions are completely oblivious to the enormity of space.
    From evolution to the Copernican revolution, religion has constantly been bashed for assuming that the world revolves around humans in various ways.

    But Christianity and Western science, I'd argue, could share some common virtues, namely the disposition of humility in one's pursuits. In religion it's the infinite power&wisdom of God in comparison to man, and in science it's man's infinitely small place in the universe. Granted this isn't always how religion or science works, but there's an underlying sort of ego-less similarity when it comes to carrying out God's & the true pursuit of science. In a sense the same impenetrable mental space between man & god has been reconstituted as physical space between man & the universe.

    Or for a more concrete comparison, consider that rigorous theological study has been the pinnacle of Western intellectual efforts for much longer than science has. The technical virtuoso seen in works such as those by Aquinas is not unlike those in modern scientific works, although the assumptions vastly differ. That frame of thought my seem primitive in comparison to modern science, but no doubt much of what is written today will quickly become outdated, and before we know it seem almost as primitive as well.
    Im a Finlander also which dont like to "talk" so much ,so I made a shourt comment now which says"Fresh fallen, crushed and annihilated theolocicans still lyes around the cradle off every science,like the strangled snakes around the cradle off Hercules!"(A.giggles)Now yuo know why I for.ex dont like or are not so impressed off Christiannity theology and other religions etc.Greetings (Aki.t. son off cosmos)also on e-mail aki@aol.se

    Carl Sagan also said"The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be"I agree to 50%for.ex.Carl Sagan also said about cosmos etc."that here we are approaching the greatest off mysteries"then i agree to 100%.Greetings Aki.t. aol.se

    Fred Pauser
    Massimo, I share your admiration and appreciation of Carl Sagan. He is one of my favorite people of all time.



    …it is so refreshing to read the words of a positive atheist, which do not in the least resemble the angry and inflated rhetoric of a Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins. On the contrary, Sagan’s tone is always measured and humble, and yet he delivers (metaphorically) mortal blow after mortal blow to the religious in his audience.




    Yes, Carl did indeed intelligently and effectively expose the nonsensical nature of many aspects of conventional religions. But the reason his tone is so different from atheist writers, is he was not an atheist, in my opinion. I have not found anywhere in his writings where he has identified himself as an atheist. He sounds to me very much like an agnostic (not a small difference).



    In The Demon Haunted World, Carl wrote:



    “The very act of understanding is a celebration of joining, merging, even if on a very modest scale, with the magnificence of the Cosmos.”



    “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”



    Carl’s tone and attitude regarding religion sounds much like Einstein’s, except Einstein was more direct in that he specifically identified himself as very religious in the Cosmic sense. Einstein identified himself as agnostic at times, but never as atheist. Yet he too dispatched much of the nonsense of conventional religions.
    Jeff Sherry
    Thanks for the book recommendation M. Pigliucci, looking forward to reading Sagan's posthumous work. Carl Sagan always struck me as the modern Renaissance thinking man. 
    Thank you for discussing excellent points on the polarized issue of religion and science. As Carl Sagan stated..."Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved? Science will always lead us to the light of knowledge. Religion will lead us into the darkness of mysticism. And yes, I miss him too.

    Because lack off time and translation problems etc. I give a comment from my Swedish Carl sagan bok which explain whole lot for me. 1.Världen äro mitt fosterland,vetenskapen äro min religion. 2.Portarna till Himmelen och Helvetet ligger intill varandra och äro desamma. In English something like.1The WORLD is my FATHERLAND (or native country)and the SCIENCE my religion. 2.The GATES to HEAVEN and HELL are beside eaths other and are the one and the same. 1.From Christiaan Huygens and 2.Nikos Kazantzakis.Greetings Aki.T. Son off cosmos on e-mail aki@aol.se I also wanna tell yuo that I have the one hour Carl Sagan cosmos episodes yuo can watch for fri on http://vodpod.com/watch/622607-cosmos-Carl-sagan look at my username cosmosson there.And wanderers on http:www.documentary-log.com. Use this opportynity it is for fri and dont cost yuo anything!Greetings Aki.t.

    I do not find Sagan's attack on religion at all convincing, at least as it is presented in this review. Religion in general is not about everything, but about the relation of humanity to the divine. In Western religions, that means the relation of humanity to God. It is not particularly about the relation of God to the whole physical universe or of humanity to the whole physical universe. Religious works have no more need to mention physical science than have history books. They just aren't on the same topic.

    Fred Pauser
    Religious works have no more need to mention physical science than have history books.




    But they do mention physical science, and that’s the problem! Many Christians have tried to debunk Darwinian and neo-Darwinian evolution and replace it with “Creation Science” and “Intelligent Design” because Darwinian evolution does not jibe with their Bible. Apparently so many people have been duped into believing this kind of irrational crapola that the Christians made the difference in getting an ignoramous named George W. Bush elected as president.



    It’s important that we make our decisions based upon reality, not upon fairy tales. That’s why the writings of people like Carl Sagan are important.
    We also have to remember that the superreallity terrain are superior its own interpernting map and "survives" (I think )without its own interprenting map,but the interprenting and sympole map (matematics,numbers,letters,dimensions,fats etc.)dont "survive" without the (super)reallity terrain.Science and scientifical principals gives us good "clues"to investigate phenomena and are good to have in our "toolbox".We are limited creatures with a limited imagination capacity.Am interested moustly in what really are true in every area.There are an absoluty trueth and a relative truet,the relative trueth are depending on the absolute trueth as a suorce.We can never really find the depest etc. trueth,only relative (deep)truets,but our goel have to be to try reach the "absolute" trueth, so we can go "forvard" and develop etc.and dont (Swedish word stagnera)=stop to develop.Greetings Aki.T.

    The Bible is the only ancient book that says the stars cannot be numbered and compares them to the sand of the sea shore. The Bible also speaks of the water cycle, wind and ocean currents and as far as North America consider this... "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place," could that be a reference to the polar ice cap? How about "[He] hangeth the earth upon nothing"? Those statements alone constitute a rebuttal to Massimo Pigliucci's argument. Now consider this: The Bible correctly predicted the restoration of national Israel, the alliance between Russia and the Arab nations and a coming nuclear war. Consider that before the 19th century technology hadn't changed much from ancient times and most people didn't travel far from home very often. The Bible predicted that in the last days, many would “run to and fro and knowledge would be increased.” Our computerized world today is one where there is constant travel and the doubling of knowledge every five years or so.
    In Obadiah 4 there is a description of a nation that exalts themselves as an eagle and sets their nest among the stars. I'll let you contemplate the meaning of that verse.
    The point I'm making is this; the assumption that the Bible is some outdated mythical writ is absolutely wrong and anyone who makes statements based on that presupposition (of its contents rather than a thorough study) shows a basic flaw in their research abilities, which by the way, makes one wonder about their actual scientific knowledge.

    About the bible,dont mix up quallity with quantity,also astrolocical vague predictions work evertime yuo react on them positivily,but people like to forget when it did not work.also in hinduism one brahma year are near the age off our universe,near the big bang theories.konfusios say ,be against others like yuo want other to be against you etc.500 years BEFORE Jesus.Humanism also show a better way how to be a human with moral etc.better than the christian bible. Its better they leave religion out off politicts the state and shcol educationwhen marry or die etc.Then we might get a better word and less comflicts like in israel etc.We should say god bay to nonproven religius dogma ,messis and their rituals etc.

    Your quote of "be against others like yuo [sic] want other to be against you" is a negative quote in its structure. It is a far cry from the positive quote of Jesus' saying, "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. "

    When the Bible first mentions God in Genesis 1:1, God is from the Hebrew "Elohim" - a word which is also translated in the plural, i.e. 'gods', like in Exodus 20:3, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."). "And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness..." - Genesis 1:26
    I'm not talking about polytheism, but the Godhead, who exists as a triune being. When you look at the Sun for example, you see one light source. Yet there are three different kinds of light radiating from it. Or you have an egg, but there is the outer shell, the white and the yolk. Three in one. King David prophecied about it this way: "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." - Psalm 110:1 In the Gospels
    "Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.
    He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
    The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
    If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? " - Matthew 22:41-45.
    Luke also recorded this in his gospel; Luke 20:41-44 and Peter talks about this in Acts 2:33-35.

    By the way,show only one real prove to that Jesus existed for real,was the son off god and did the things he did! Then expain why genesis talk about Creation in genesis,when creation in case off make the word without energy,rawmaterial and cyclic elapsis etc. are inpossible.

    You said, "show only one real prove [proof] to that Jesus existed for real,was the son off [of] god and did the things he did!
    Answer: The lives and deaths of the disciples. They had no reason to perpetuate a lie, which cost them everything without gaining anything. They willingly gave up their wealth, positions in society, their authority, their families, and suffered unspeakable horrors, deprivations, imprisonment, torture and death simply to tell people that Jesus Christ came not to condemn the world but to offer free and full salvation. That is incontrovertible proof for the existence of Christ and testimonial proof of His divine nature.
    Now let me ask you a question...The Romans crucified Christ and both they and the Jews took extraordinary effrorts to secure the body of Jesus to prevent his predicted resurrection. Where's the body? If you could come up with the body of Jesus Christ, Christianity would collapse. The Jews spent the first 40 years after Christ's resurrection trying to stop Christianity in its tracks. All they would have had to do is produce the body of Christ. All attempts to stop Christianity through the centuries have failed but all that is needed is for somebody to scientifically produce the dead Jesus. They can't and so Christianity remains the only faith where it's founder defeated death.
    You can ask Jesus to reveal himself to you and I wouldn't be surprised if He did. Ask Him for proof if you're really willing to take Him as your savior and Lord when He does. If you're not willing, then don't waste your time.

    Christianity is based on unconditional belief. Christianity will not collapse based on any kind of evidence including a body that might be forensically proven to be Jesus. If empirical evidence mattered at all, Christianity would not have survived into this century.
    There is enough physical evidence that we evolved from simple life to convince anyone who will actually dig in to the evidence and try to understand it. In order to remain a creationist and biblical literalist...you just have to ignore it and say that it does not matter.
    Many people other than Christians gave up their lives for what they believe. It was heresy to think the world was not the center of the universe in past centuries; you could get killed for being right back then. Women could be put to death for requesting pain relief during birth because genesis declares that women must suffer in birth.
    Having to live out your life out believing that people who do not accept your supernatural beliefs must suffer eternal punishment must be a terrible burden. It would be like living in the polish ghetto knowing that you neighbors would be taken to a concentration camp tomorrow. Do you ever concider that all other religions have similar rules and the vast majority of religions inthis world think that you are going to hell with me...a disbeliever. Do you ever fear that you might wake up in a Mormon or islamic hell? Of course you don't...no more than a Mormon or Muslim worries about waking up in the hell you believe in.
    I think if you would spend some time studying and understanding scientific principles you may find a way to free your mind from such dark and terrible superstitions. If I can help in any way feel free to reply.

    Taosm in the Tao te ching ,the watercourse way also talk about water,much better exact etc. compered with the christian bible.It says for ex,the wise man are like water,water does al creatures well and dont challange or compite with them,but it can collect it self to us unknow places etc.This way it also are simular to tao.

    You said, "Taosm in the Tao te ching ,the watercourse way also talk about water,much better exact etc. compered with the christian bible.
    Not at all!
    This is from the Bible book of Job, perhaps the most ancient writing in the Bible.
    The Water Cycle :
    Job 36:27-29 -
    "For He draws up the drops of water, they distill rain from the mist, Which the clouds pour down, they drip upon man abundantly. Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thundering of His pavilion? "

    That's way more specific than Taoism and was written over a thousand years before Lao-tzu, the founder of Taoism.

    I come from Finland and got my own tao ,we dont know if Jesus existed or if lau tzu existed.I believe Jesus existed or that kind off person have existed,but I dont believe Jesus was the son off God and that yuo can come to Heaven only throught him etc.Its more easy to me to prove the things in front off yuo wits are posible to do by practical experiments the tao way compered what Jesus did, only if yuo can do all the things Jesus did in front off me ,I can believe more in Christiannity,so far noone succeeded. I cannot have fate in things with are above nature or are nonprven to me,I got a short earth life and dont any longer wanna waist time in people who does statement they cannot prove in the long run.People have the right to believe everything they want as long it dont make others to suffer etc.If yuo are english spocen with am not for real,and to get better explenations in english look what Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins say in books and television etc.they are real persons and I believe what they say more than Jesus and christiannity.I end this message with a principle from tao and my own tao simular to real tao,when everyting do the things they do by their real true nature,the nature off everything is gono be "satisfied"do yuo agree or not,?if yuo dont,come with an better principle etc.only then I can respect yuo and what yuo are sayn.Greetings Aki.t.

    By the way the tao water explenation here above explain more to me compered with yuo bible explanation.In this case tao explain when the bible expanation want to go to the direction off "nonexpanation."If I understand yuo english right,I understand the best in swedish and Finnish.

    I guess there is a language barrier between us among other things. My original post completely refutes Carl Sagan's contention that "...this vast number of worlds, the enormous scale of the universe, in my view has been taken into account, even superficially, in virtually no religion, and especially no Western religions.”
    Since then I've engaged you in other proofs that Sagan's statements are patently false. Are you aware that the Bible also speaks about air pressure, also in the book of Job?
    Job 28:23-28 - "For He (God) looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. "When He imparted *weight to the wind and meted out the waters by measure, when He set a limit for the rain and a course for the thunderbolt, then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out." The air flows from high pressure to low pressure producing wind.
    Over two thousand years after Job, Evangelista Torricelli (1608 – 1647) invented the barometer (1643) while using mercury in a glass tube in an attempt to create a vacuum. He noticed that the mercury level in the tube changed and deduced it was caused by changes in atmospheric pressure. (First called Torricelli’s tube, when working with Galileo in Florence, Italy).
    As I mentioned, Job is one of the oldest writings in the Bible, pre-dates many, if not all Eastern religions and stands up in the light of the combined knowledge of the centuries. For example, this verse also mentions 'the course for the thunderbolt.' Today it's common knowledge that electron flow always follows a 'course' or the path of least resistance - but in Job's day, civilization was still over two thousand years away from that knowledge.
    The whole article by Massimo Pigliucci is a poor effort to discredit the Bible and glorify Carl Sagan, a man who let his presuppositions guide his thinking.

    Jeff Sherry

    R. Hoeppner, I for one am glad that Sagan was a clear thinker and he added a richness to the thinking of people that have read his books.  If anything, you are allowing your presuppositions to guide your thinking with little or no evidence for the claims of science you make on behalf of the Bible. If you think you have a large list of science from the Bible, why don't you submit an article to ScientificBlogging under your name?  

    R. Hoeppner, I may be wrong, but this blog is not a forum for arguing pro or con about religion. There are other blogs that are made especially for that. 

    Im not here to talk about religion either,I only reply the e-mails i get then a link but me here.Imayby have time to read one or to szuares above me here,and reply might 1-3 szuares no matter what the subject are.I dont wanno glorify any persons,but I have to admit I see Carl Sagan as one off my "teachers" in areas conserning science ,astronomy,space travelling etc.because when Carl sagan say something hes usually right in matters concerning science etc.and yuo can confirm hes right if yuo do the same kind off experinments a scientific way.The problem to me about the things in the christian bible are what are true or not,about the things Jesus did etc.And when noone can cure bliend,lame and wake up people from dead like Jesus or walk on water etc.like Jesus I have to say there are to much fiction or allorgy etc, in the bible.So i dont wanna waist time on that kind off things noone still have not repeated(I mean the Jesus "miracles"etc.)Usually the christians argy that the bible are the words moust readen and spreaden book and it have to be something special with it,well so are the telephone cataloge also soon,and the telephone cataloge more often get uppdated compered with the bible about true value,and like i said before,we should not mix up guallity whit quantity,and if yuo read Carl Sagans cosmos bookfor.ex yuo get more quallitty compered with guantiy,thats off cuorse my own opinion.Greetings aki.t.

    If I translate from my swedish cosmos book to Eng.Carl sagan say"The COSMOS is all that is ever was or ever will be.Our feeblest contemplation off the cosmos stir us,there is a tinglig in the spine,a catch in the voice, a faint sensation,as if a distant memory,of fallig from a height.We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.the size and age off the cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding...etc...Whats wrong whit that?I call it author quallity! and i still think it is better than genesis etc. in the christian bible,and I dare to say it because im a fri thinker and non christian and Im also "here to find out what the trueth are.Greetings cosmosson,Aki.T.

    This is by the way some things Tao say about cosmos."If we return to the suorce ,we gonna "feel"the complity peace.When we emprase all things,we can treat them fairly,when we treat them fairly we are noble,when we are noble,we are like cosmos,if we are like cosmos,we also can be like tao,if we are like tao,we gonna have a eternal "life" anyway, and we dont have to be afraid off dyin for.ex."Thats why I gonna" survive" without Jesus for.ex If I have to.Greetings aki.t.

    Not to cast aspersions on the late Dr. Sagan but I think he should have smoked less marijuana. Clearly the cannabis inspired many of his ideas. My purpose is to show that his contention
    "And this vast number of worlds, the enormous scale of the universe, in my view has been taken into account, even superficially, in virtually no religion, and especially no Western religions"

    is completely false since the Bible from the very first of the 66 books that compose it compares the stars to the sands of the seashore and says they are without number, meaning it's beyond what man has the ability to count. It wasn't until the invention of the telescope that Galileo discovered there were more than the few thousands of stars people had believed existed and it wasn't until much more recently that Edwin Hubble demonstrated the existence of other galaxies besides the Milky Way. Apparently Carl Sagan's mind was clouded by his avid use of marijuana when he made the statement I quoted in this box.
    But since dear old Carl has departed this earth, I'm sure he'd change some of his beliefs if he could.

    To make it more easy for yuo,my own scientific tao says for.ex.to us know universe or cosmos if yuo like have more exactly75%dark energy,21%dark matter including black holes,but only 4%normal matter visible stars ,galaxies etc.A maximum limit off 85%dark enery can be estimated by the fact that homo sapiens etc really exists.But we dont know still what the dark matter are,1 supersymmetric partices?2.axioums.3.Defects in time/space?4.For ex.effects from other space/times?Anyway by arguin like this a scientific way,I already have proven that my own tao knows more and are more exact compered with the christian bible,my own tao are also open for new ideas and scientific and other development,cosmic evolution etc. In case off the christian bible it shows stagnation ifyuodontwannaadmit that other trueths facts ,experiensis,reallity and reallity terrain etc.can exists outside the christian bible or how it it describet in the christiennity.Greetings cosmosson aki...t...

    It may be that I don't clearly understand your communication but you haven't proved that your own 'scientific tao' is superior to junk science. If you could prove it, then you too would be able to refute Carl Sagan's afore mentioned statement.

    Dident the christiannity or religion which have christian kind off suorce show stagnation and did not wanna accept scientific development and fact when they wanted to punish Galilei 1616-1633 when he ment that the sun are in the center off our solarsystem and when the earth arenot center off the universe? It took the pope until 1992 to admit Galilei was right and the chrurge and pope was wrong.This is why i dont wanna have churge ,popes priests nonproven dogma etc. as a power in the society,they should be separated in their own churges where they can belive anything thay want.People can visit them in the churge off cuorse,but by fri will foe.ex.

    Galileo was himself a Christian. Christians should be truth seekers and Galileo certainly was. Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church at that time were locked into a lot of non-biblical superstitious opinions and dictates that kept them in power.
    That's one reason I'm glad the reformation took place, aren't you?.

    I hope yuo mariuna comment about Carl sagan dont show yuo intellectual or scientific capacity!?Try to argy with more scientific or other kind off proves or fact etc.then yuo get more respect from me or other peopleI think,one reason to why imhere is to find out what really are true and fact for.ex!Why are yuo "here" then?About drugs etc.Who do yuo think use them more,yuo,me,c.sagan,,Elvis Presley or Jimi Hendrics for.ex.How can yuo know that when yuo never mett or really knew them?

    I hope yuo mariuna comment about Carl sagan dont show yuo intellectual or scientific capacity!?Try to argy with more scientific or other kind off proves or fact etc.then yuo get more respect from me or other peopleI think,one reason to why imhere is to find out what really are true and fact for.ex!Why are yuo "here" then?About drugs etc.Who do yuo think use them more,yuo,me,c.sagan,,Elvis Presley or Jimi Hendrics for.ex.How can yuo know that when yuo never mett or really knew them?
    I don't use, won't use and never did use. I don't need such a crutch! However Carl Sagan made no secret of the fact that he did use and even gained many of his ideas when he was under the influence. How sad.
    I believe that his widow is a strong advocate of legalizing the drug. If you need a drug to get you through life then I feel sad for you. Besides it is well known here in America that marijuana is a 'gateway' drug that leads to the use of more addictive and dangerous drugs. So what do you really think about that?


    Fred Pauser
    R. Hoeppner,



    The Bible is the only ancient book that says the stars cannot be numbered and compares them to the sand of the sea shore. The Bible also speaks of the water cycle, wind and ocean currents and as far as North America consider this... "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place," could that be a reference to the polar ice cap?




    You pick out a few words from the Bible that very vaguely correspond to what we now know is scientifically true of nature, and present them as some sort of proof that the Bible is factually valid. How about the many passages in the Bible that contradict scientific reality?



    For example, how about the Noah’s Ark story? Is that valid? Did God, only a few thousand years ago, flood the entire planet for something like a YEAR, killing all humans and animals except Noah and his family? Do you realize how many species of animals had to accounted for on that boat? How about a years worth of food for them all? No refrigeration, so how did Noah maintain all of that food? Do you realize how big the boat would have to be for both the animals and their food? Did Noah and his family take care of all of the special diets, and clean out all the manure and urine every day? After the ark landed, how about the problem of inbreeding for both animals and humans? We apparently must all be related to Noahs family, all 6.5 billion of us, various races and all, right?



    I don't use, won't use and never did use [marijuana]. I don't need such a crutch!




    George Bush is typical of many Christians in that he used the crutch of alcohol, then switched to Christianity. Make no mistake – fundamentalist Christianity is a crutch! To those who adopt it, it is a pleasant delusion. And since it diverts people from reality, it is dangerous.
    Well ,I dont know about yuo,but my "gateway" to the scientific and other thruth in the reallity, universe,other dimensions or cosmosetc. dont go trought drugs anyway.I only speak about myself.

    Try to reply more interesting things instead like the Noah ark questions etc. about the christian bible,I by the way dont belive in the noah ark story.some people mean anyway that they find old remains etc. off the ark in turkey.Also some people mean they have find the point off the spear which the roman soldier throght on Jesus on the cruss.I only belive so far that they might find parts off a ship or a spear but cannot prove they come from the noah ark or spear point which was thrown on Jesus,and if they can prove the spear thing here above dont prove that jesus for.ex was the son off god,only for ex.that the romans crusify and kill rebels or other kind off criminals which did not obey roman antique law.etc.

    I understand that this is not a religious blog however I was responding to Carl Sagans' statement when he introduced the 'religion' element. I feel that I have every right to address that issue since Massimo Pigliucci saw fit to incorporate that statement in his article. Aki Tuomaala then brought up Taoism, Fred Pauser now brings up Noah's Ark, where his argument is not a scientific one but an assertive one, and so I'm compelled to respond.
    There are many reasons to believe the flood story, just as there are many reasons to believe there was no universal flood. The evidence is the same but the interpretations are different depending on the world view....

    Jeff Sherry
    R. Hoeppner you are talking pure effluvia. You have used your posts as a platform for your religious doctrines, specifically to draw an audience to your seldom visited blog. Fred Pauser was responding to your previous number of posts of which you have failed to provide evidence for your claims. I'm sorry to point out to you that there is not a division between secular science  and theistic science, there is only one science.

    Since you think the Bible is chock full of science, why don't you write up an article for ScientificBlogging? You do know that all the items that you pointed out were taken from a creationist web-site, right?
    Im not a 100%taost either,I wanted to point out that the christian bible are not unigue,because yuo find interesting point off views in Taoism,buddhism and hinduism etc.also.The things about taoism I try to show here above,i did not find that anyone wanna critisise,please do,because the less critisism it got the more true I belive it is. it looks to me that all readers wanna critisise Christiannity more.To show how limited the christian bible morale are I have tuff guestions on 1.when do we have the real right to kill a humen been or a animal?2.when (or in what situation)do we have the right to eat humen or animal flesh?3.Why do we dont find the real answeer to thouse 2 questions in the christian bible , or do we find it there?I should also mension that the two situations already happent for real ,when the "allmighty lord "but a human been in thouse situations.I have my own tao solutions i might reveal later,depending on the reaction to the two guestions above.Greetings aki.t.

    about christian creatism etc.The only thing proven to me are what darwinism explain,wery well explaint by Richard Dawkins for.ex.The only proven intelligent design to me are humen maid (by homo sapiensis)So all cristian creationists ,yuo talk to much,come with real scientific or physical proves sometimes about intelligent design done by others than human beens for.ex.Then show me a God who can wipe out himself ,a natural law or energy,cyclic elapses etc.and all christian creationists etc.what does the principal -the ever lasting are everlasting-mean to yuo?Its more locical that something always exists that it is created from nothing,something always result in something.not hing result in nothing.nothing dont result in something and something dont result in nothing,Right??!!....Some off my own tao principals in think are true,does anyone have better principals?Greetings aki.t.

    aaanouel

    I'd warmly suggest everybody to read*:
    "Hsin Hsin Ming" (The book of nothing)

    also known as "Verses on the Faith Mind"
    by Chien-chih Seng-ts'an. Third Zen Patriarch (606AD). 

    ...
    To deny the reality of things
    is to miss their reality;
    to assert the emptiness of things 
    is to miss their reality.

    The more you talk and think about it,
    the further astray you wander from the truth.
    Stop talking and thinking,
    and there is nothing you will not be able to know...
    ...
    Words!
    The Way is beyond language,
    for in it there is
          no yesterday
          no tomorrow
          no today.
    _____________________________________________________________

    ... and may it be all these ten thousand words Aki Toumaala and repliers are spending get their right place:  No where...
    _____________________________________________________________
    * One version: http://www.deeshan.com/sosan.htm


    My believing in a god depends on how we wanna definite god,if someone wanna definie god as the suorce to everything or the super reallity terrain i belive that suorce exists,I dont belive in a god who cares about us in a personal level,our problems etc. or who listen to prairs etc.I belive for.ex that forces exist with are more power full than a human bein., but i cannot definie thouse forces because noone so far can even explain the raise off gravitation etc.I believe that nothing above nature exists and that everyting have a natural explenation,but we cannot always find that explenation because we are limited creatures,but we can try off cuorse.also i believe there are an absolute trueth and a relative trueth and the relative trueth are depending on the absolute trueth,but we usually find the relative trueth,but our goal should be to find the absolute trueth so we dont get stagnation.I end the discussion with a zen principle I believe in--ONE in ALL,ALL in ONE,if we only can realize this,we dont have to be worried about not to be perfect and COMPLETE---.What do yuo think about that.Greetings Aki.T....

    aaanouel
    It's true that is too complex relative truths for anyone....
    The more you talk and think about it,
    the further astray you wander from the truth.
    Stop talking and thinking,
    and there is nothing you will not be able to know...


    For your own peace of mind, I'd warmly suggest you to read* and absorb:  "Hsin Hsin Ming".
    _______________________________________________________
    * One version in: http://www.deeshan.com/sosan.htm
    aaanouel
    Go my words to nowhere too...
    Some foolish men still wanna declare that a CREATOR made the WORLD. The doctrine that the world was created is ill-advised,and should be rejected.If God created the world,where was god BEFORE creation?...How could God have made whole world without any energy and rawmaterial for.ex?If yuo say the lord made this first,and then the whole world,yuo are faced an ENDLESS REGRESSION...Know that the world is uncreated,like time,space,motion,cyclic elapsies, energy etc... and the everlasting which are everlasting,without beginning and end.,and it is based on the principals......----the Mahapurana..jinasena india ,ninth century and Aki.t.2009 after chr.

    Now I give yuo the tao solution to lot off yuor questions.-----The great mighty everlasting and harmonic superreallity terrain tao soner or later flows everywhere.In every dimension we can think off and not think off.Every lifeform on Earth for.ex are depending on it and it dont turn away from them. when its work are done,it DONT demand acknowledgement.It still cover and feed all the lifeforms and dont demand that much acknowledgement.Because it dont demand so much for its own part,it seems to be off a small signification,but when for.ex all the living things so naturally and voluntarily return to it,without it have to demand it,it can really be considert as Mighty, and it is only because it dont do a demand to be mighty,it can be so Mighty!!!!......Right????!!!!!Greetins tao and Aki.T.

    Who can really tell why the Heaven allow some things to happen?Even the wise brother get mutalated sometimes.The way to my Tao Heaven.:Dont compete,but are on excellent winner in the long run.Dont speak that much.but answeer somehow when the right question are askt the right way.Dont demand that much,but are obeyd.Seems caotic to the nonprofound,but reveal an excellent and one off the grandest of plans also,to the intellectual and profound one. The tao multibuble Heavens net are thrown widest around,and even if its galactic philament loops are so huge,nothing ever gets lost!What do yuo think about that?....Greetings (brother)Aki.T.